One year later

In June 2016, we brought 110 women together at a camp outside of Wellington. We laughed, we cried, we stayed up late dancing to Beyoncé.

We didn’t know a single event would spread as far and wide as it has. We had an inkling this was something special, but didn’t quite anticipate the speed at which it would grow: in the last twelve months, we’ve gone from a tweet to just over 300 women attending (and 900 applying for!) three events. 2017 has been an amazing year of growth and learning, and it’s not even half over yet. Here’s are some of the highlights so far:

Christchurch

Photo cred: Erica Austin from Peanut Productions

We were humbled when a group of alumni asked to run a second event in Christchurch. They were the first to run an event under the WWGSD name, and we were nervous about watching our fledgling venture out of the nest. The Christchurch team helped show us just how amazing women can be, especially when they work together.

Thank you to the Christchurch organising team: Jane, Morgan, Erica, and Ting. An extra-big thank you to Catarina for leading this team and setting a precedent for getting more of these events off the ground. You worked through the unknown and delivered the ethos and kaupapa of our WWGSD for a whole new group of women. We learnt that our childcare needs more money and support, we explored new ways to set our agenda, and found that sponsorship doesn’t come easily (especially when you have shit in your name!).

Bay of Plenty

Never underestimate the power of motivated women. After Christchurch was announced, more of our alumni proposed a third event, this time in Waihi Beach. Our Tauranga team made the most of getting to learn from the lessons of two organising teams, and brought even more great ideas into the fold.

Thank you to the entire Bay of Plenty team: Kiritapu, Amy, Grace, Sarah, Rebecca, Robyn, Lynn, Valda, Lena, and Tiruni. A special thank you to Angela for leading such an amazing team. Thank you for always making us smile with your positivity and humour. You taught us to use advisory groups to reach more diverse women and to look at scholarship-focused sponsorship to allow companies to easily join us on this journey. We send you our aroha and kudos.

We became a charitable trust!

As we grew, we recognised the need to be official in order to keep supporting more events. It’s unfair to ask each team to handle money through personal accounts, and it’s something we’d always discussed as a long-term goal. It just came a bit earlier than expected!

We’re now a charitable trust and we are thrilled to have Sarah Wood on board as our treasurer. Sarah has always been there to patiently explain GST and accounting to us, and it’s such a privilege to have her on the team. We’re excited about getting systems in place across all our events so we can be more responsive with invoicing and other financial matters.

Here at WWGSD HQ we hope to keep learning and make each new event even more welcoming, inclusive, and fun for attendees. Retrospectives are held after each unconference, and we’re creating regular scheming sessions with all organisers past and present to ensure we’re doing everything we can to create accessible events. We’re looking forward to providing more support around facilitating and participating in unconference discussions, especially when deeply personal topics are involved.

A special thanks

A special thanks to Emily Tasker. Emily is a busy woman, like all women who get shit done. She organised childcare in Wellington and Christchurch, and was strong-armed into merely advising the Tauranga team this time so she could finally get a chance to participate in WWGSD. We love and cherish Emily’s support and want to acknowledge the hard work she does to make our events accessible for parents and fun for kids.

Wellington 2.0

Having come full circle in the last year, we’re thrilled to announce our fourth WWGSD will be held at Tatum Park on 22–24 September 2017. Registrations are now open here.

We’re excited at the potential an election weekend event presents: diverse minds coming together to formulate ambitious solutions to social, economic and political challenges at the beginning of a new government term.

A big thanks to Silverstripe and Codemania for coming on board as our first sponsors for Wellington 2017. If you know anyone that could sponsor a scholarship or us, please send them our way on hq@wwgsd.nz or check out our sponsor deck here.

Thank YOU

None of this would have happened without you, our alumni, supporters and sponsors. You have inspired us to keep striving high. Thank you for taking a chance on us and trusting us to learn from your honest feedback. Attendees have described this event as life changing and recommended that all women should get a chance to attend, and that’s what we want to see happen.

As we wrote back in our manifesto, we know we can do anything but not everything. Event organising is a time consuming process for not only the local organisers but also our HQ team. So we ask you to be patient with us as we onboard new regions and teams. We want to make sure we scale responsibly so each event receives the love and care it deserves. Thank you for believing in us, and we look forward to seeing you at a future event. In the meantime: keep getting shit done!